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Blake Lance

Blake  Lance

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

PhD Student

Contact Information


Transient Mixed Convection CFD Validation. Major Professor:  Dr. Barton Smith


The next generation nuclear reactor is planned to be a high temperature gas reactor.  In the design, the gas will be forced down through the hot reactor core.  If a pump were to stop, the gas transitions from forced flow downward to natural convection upward.  This process is difficult to simulate with computational fluid dynamics (CFD), so the experiments serve as a validation source for improved models.  Validation is critical for reliable results of the increasingly popular simulations, especially for this transient flow with several convection regimes.

The wind tunnel I use was built specifically for validation experiments.  I use particle image velocimetry (PIV) to measure the fluid velocity using lasers and cameras, over 300 thermocouples to measure temperature, and several other sensor types.  All of these comprise a wind tunnel experiment with very high fidelity.

My group is leading the way in making validation data accessible and readable for researchers to validate their CFD models.  A dedicated website describes the experiment in high detail, provides boundary conditions, and gives many results for comparison.  This effort provides a framework for future validation studies and should result in more accurate simulations.